Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

This is a Christmas story about a family. Nicole met a man and fell in love. Sebastian has an ex-wife and a grown daughter. His daughter is not nice to Nicole. Kennedy thinks her parents will get back together. Her mother, Katya, who left her father and got a divorce to be with Alonzo, is going away for Christmas. So Kennedy and her husband and son are coming to Nantucket for the holiday. Kennedy is 81/2 month pregnant. She treats Nicole like she is the housekeeper and not her father's wife. Then on Christmas Eve, Katya shows up. What will happen next? Will it be the happy Christmas that Nicole is hoping for?

I liked this story. I am glad that Nicole acted like the adult when it was needed and that Seb stood up for her!

From the author:
Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.
But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.
Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.
 Chapter 1

On Nantucket, the Christmas season is different.


The island, fifty-two square miles of flat sandy land, lies in windswept isolation almost thirty miles away from the continent and all its institutions and entertainments. In the summer, the sun shines down on golden beaches and a serene blue sea. In the winter, gale force winds lash and howl over the ocean, cutting its residents off from family, friends, and often fresh bread and milk as Nantucket Sound freezes over and no planes fly, no boats sail, to or from the island. When the sun sets early and rises late, deep black water surrounds the land in infinite darkness.

Then Nantucket comes truly alive. Islanders have the leisure to savor the Charles Dickens charm gleaming from the glistening cobblestone streets and historic brick buildings. They relish the coziness of the small town where they know everyone, and everyone’s dog. After a hectic summer, they enjoy the tranquil pace. They take time to stop, look, listen, pat the dog, tickle a baby’s chin, chat, and laugh. They attend Christmas pageants, holiday fairs, and all manner of cabarets. The town lines the central streets of the village with dozens of small evergreens twinkling with multicolored lights and weatherproof decorations. The islanders pause to gaze up at the forty-foot spruce blazing at the top of Main Street, and they nod in appreciation and gratitude.

They celebrate light, life, and laughter as the winter dark wildness descends.

The Christmas Stroll began as an occasion for merchants to welcome islanders into their shops for hot buttered rum, spiced apple cider, warm gossip, and good cheer. Store windows were artistically decorated with mermaids and Santas, seahorses and fairy-tale scenes. Mr. and Mrs. Santa arrived on a Coast Guard boat and were delivered to the Jared Coffin House by horse and buggy. The aroma of fresh fish chowder and island-brewed beer wafted enticingly from the restaurants. The town crier strode through the streets in tall hat and cape, and Victorian carolers enchanted the salt air with song.

Not surprisingly, and oddly around the same time the one-hour fast ferries started their rounds, news of Nantucket’s Christmas Stroll spread to off-island friends and relatives of the townspeople. One sparkling winter day, a Boston television station sent a reporter and cameraman. After that, the annual event was famous.

For children, it was magic. For adults, it was a chance to be childlike.

For Nicole Somerset, the Nantucket Christmas Stroll was close to miraculous.

Four years ago, Nicole was a widow. Her friend Jilly insisted that Nicole travel down from Boston for the weekend to enjoy the Stroll. Nicole came, and fell in love with the charming small town, its festively bedecked windows, its fresh salt air and chiming church bells. She fell in love with a man, as well.

She met Sebastian Somerset at a party. They liked each other a lot, rather quickly, if not immediately, but being older, and possibly wiser, they took time getting to know each other. Nicole was widowed and childless. Sebastian was divorced, with a grown daughter.

Nicole was a nurse. She had just retired at fifty-five, but she missed her patients and colleagues. She missed her work, too. She liked to keep busy. Sebastian, sixty-two, had worked for a Boston law firm. He had also just retired, realizing he’d spent too much of his life working. He wanted to enjoy life.

Slowly, cautiously, they began to date, discovering that together they enjoyed life a great deal. Sebastian owned a house on the island, and as the days, weeks, and then months went by, he introduced Nicole to the pleasures the island offered—swimming, sailing, and tennis. In turn, Nicole introduced Sebastian to the delights his first wife had disdained: homemade pie, eaten while watching large-screen television; walking rather than biking through the island moors; stopping to notice the birds and wildflowers rather than jogging to keep his heart rate up; or watching the sun set on the beach rather than attending a cocktail party.

Sebastian’s first wife, Katya, was a perfectionist who had kept him on a tight leash and a rigid routine. After a few months of relaxed satisfaction with Nicole, Sebastian worried he would gain weight and develop heart trouble. To his surprise, he gained no weight, and his blood pressure actually dropped. When he asked his doctor about this at his annual check-up, Maury Molson leaned back in his chair and shrewdly raised his hairy eyebrows.

Pages: 209

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